Inner Chef

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Product Review: Popcorn

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POPCORN

by Correen Coultas

Microwave? Stove top? That is the question.  The best method for making popcorn I would have to say is the stove top.  I do occasionally use microwave popcorn, but if I am making it at home, the stove top is the only way.

Since popcorn is my all time favorite snack, I have purchased all kinds of popcorn.  I prefer yellow kernels to the white because it makes puffier and tenderer flakes.  Don’t be fooled by colored popcorn kernels – they will pop into white flakes, not colored flakes and the flakes are about the same size as popped white kernels.

I find it is best to buy popcorn kernels in a jar or plastic bag because seeing the kernels helps in the selection process.  You can see if kernels are moldy or starting to mildew (gray to black streaks on the kernels – stay away from those!).  You can also tell if the kernels are too dry (they look shriveled on the pointed end of the kernel – you will end up with lots of old maids in the pan).  Check the expiration date too just to get an idea of when the kernels were processed.   As long as the kernels look good, I find that the popcorn from different brands pop pretty much the same.  It’s the hardware and the process of popping that makes the end result difference.  I will buy JollyTime® popcorn or store brands because of the value as long as the kernels pass the inspection.  Once you find the right bag, it’s time for popping.  On a side note, when I am in Amish Indiana, I will buy Yoder’s® popcorn.  It is farmed right there and I haven’t had a bad bag yet!

I like to pop corn in olive or grape seed oil over medium high heat.  Flavored olive oils are great too.  I tried using high heat to make the process quicker and I ended up with burnt popcorn and the smell lingers in the pan even after a thorough scrubbing.   The pan is a different story.

My favorite popcorn pan has just been retired after several years of popcorn bliss.  I don’t even remember the make of the pan or I would share it with you.  So I am on the hunt for the perfect pan.  I don’t want an air popper; I have tried those and although they are a healthy alternative for popcorn popping, it is not for me.  I have tried nonstick pans and the high heat does a number on the finish of the pan.  I like stainless steel, but I have a hard time cleaning the pan.  Right now I have a stainless steel pan dedicated to popping corn, but it doesn’t have a vented lid, which I prefer to help release steam from the pan.  We will have to see how that works out.  (I would welcome tried and true suggestions!)

To dress the popcorn I don’t need anything fancy, just a light sprinkling of real butter (margarines tend to shrivel the popped corn – not appetizing in the least) and some Kernel Season’s® White Cheddar.  For an extra special treat, I love to make flavored popcorn balls.  Melt ¼ cup butter and one bag of your favorite marshmallows, then add 1-2 tablespoons flavored dry gelatin and stir until dissolved.  Pour over the popped corn and form into balls.  Let set for at least 30 minutes (if you can wait that long!).  Yum!!!!

Microwave popcorn is made for convenience, but stove top popcorn can be made in just about the same amount of time.  The only difference would be the clean up afterward.  If I use microwave popcorn, I prefer ACT II® Natural or Butter popcorn.  The Butter popcorn is the only box that has natural flavors whereas the other butter kinds boast of artificial flavors.   There are very few old maids in these bags.  Just make sure you know your microwave.  Using the popcorn button on the appliance is not always the best option.

Whatever your popcorn of choice, ENJOY!

I am not being compensated by any company mentioned for this review.  It is my own opinion~Correen Coultas.

popcorn 2  popcorn1

JollyTime® photo by www.shop.com

ACT II® photo by www.fleetfarm.com

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